Monday, February 25, 2008

happy birthday Amanda!

Somebody turns a very sweet sixteen today. Happy birthday Amanda!!!! In my family, the tradition is that we always sing. Whether it's in person, or on the phone, or even in email if distance demands it, we sing. Well I know how much time you spend online, so I thought this might be the best way to do it. Amanda, this one's for you:

Happy birthday to you,
Happy birthday to yooou.
Haaaapppppyyy biiiirthdaaaaay Aaaa-maaanda!
Happy birthday to you!We got to celebrate Amanda early yesterday with a get together over ribs at her parent's place. Kendra once again provided the cake and like always this one is my favorite. I helped a little.

It was a beautiful, gorgeous day so after a rib lunch and before cake we headed to the park en mass.
The younger kids played on the playground.

And some of the big kids got in on the action too.

Happy birthday Amanda! It is an honour to know you. I hope that you will have an amazing year discovering more of this incredible person you are and continue to grow into. Thank you for making so many days a celebration.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

...weep with those who weep

This is Kennedy Olivia. I wish I could have met her. I know the family, she comes from good people.

Zephaniah 3:15-17 says:

15 The LORD has taken away your punishment,
he has turned back your enemy.
The LORD, the King of Israel, is with you;
never again will you fear any harm.

16 On that day they will say to Jerusalem,
"Do not fear, O Zion;
do not let your hands hang limp.

17 The LORD your God is with you,
he is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
he will quiet you with his love,
he will rejoice over you with singing."

A couple of years ago a friend of mine set these verses to music and it's his voice I've heard in my head all afternoon, "Daughter of Jerusalem. . . .the Lord has taken your punishment."

This is not the world as it was meant to be. Death speaks and there is an echoing silence. But the silence will not prevail. This is not the day to rejoice, but that day is coming.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

beautiful day

Today the sun shone. There was only one thing for it. We headed to the beach. It was, as expected, a little hard to find parking. The first sunny day of February everyone pretends that it's July. I can't really blame them. Clad in a t-shirt, jeans, and an unzipped fleece I was doing the same thing. The boats were out. This is as close to them as I could get. Maybe one day I'll be able to take this shot looking back at the shore.

Eventually we found a spot in the parking lot everyone always forgets about and trekked down the railroad tracks to the beach and then on to our real destination, Moby Dick's, still home to the best fish & chips you've ever eat. As long as you order the tartar sauce. You might think that you don't like tartar sauce but the truth is that you simply don't like regular tartar sauce. The dill-infused, home-made concoction at Moby's is in another category altogether.

See how I'm smiling in this pic? It's because I know we remembered to get the sauce. And also because in February it's warm enough to eat outside (even though technically it's only warm enough out of the wind, but shhhh, we won't talk about that.) I was also trying to get a pic of my new haircut -- does anything feel as great as a fresh haircut? -- but it didn't really work. The wind was doing me no favors. This pic from yesterday is better (but then it's always better when the hairdresser does it). I don't know if I have the patience to straighten it, time will tell.

On the way down to Moby Dick's we past my favorite staircase in White Rock. I'd always meant to take a picture of it and finally today I had my camera with me.

I love that this art, a group community project, is entirely unnecessary. Who takes the time to decorate the risers on a concrete stair case? And yet it's so pretty. If you're not careful you can walk right past and miss it. If you take the time to stand back and look at it from a little distance you can see that it's mostly on large picture. I wish I had been around when they were working on this but it was before my time.

All in all, it was a pretty great day. The sun is starting to go down now and it's definitely not warm enough for short sleeves, but that's OK. I'm back at home, cup of tea in hand and cozy blanket not far away. It will be spring and then summer eventually. I can wait.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

valentine's anyway

I know, I know, it's days too late, but Happy Valentine's Day anyway. Is it ever really too late to feel the love? (Actually, yes I think it can be, but that's a short story waiting to be written another day.) At my house we celebrated with sugar cookies with pink icing for nieces' classes and beautiful, delicious, Lindt chocolate covered strawberries for the grown-ups. Yuuuuuuuummmmmmmmy. True, it's not quite as good as actually being in love on the pink and red-est day of the year but it certainly takes the edge off :) I am a long way from being alone, and I am thankful for that all the days of the year.

Many years ago I wrote an article on How to Write a Love Letter for work, and it still cracks me up that it remains one of the most popular articles on the site. How do you spell irony? If you do a Google search on the topic you'll get over 9 million results and you'll see my article there at #7 on the first page. So it looks like I'm getting a little Google love too.

Love is strange thing, it cannot be earned and is never deserved. It can be both lost and found, can cause both pain and joy. Love can be everything and yet sometimes love is not enough. You can loose yourself in love, be rescued by it, drown in it and find a better version of yourself inside it. They say love conquers all, but they also say that love comes softly. Love can be a declaration and also only whisper. Love grows with knowledge but can thrive in ignorance. It is strong and fragile, fleeting and longsuffering, a beginning and a destination. Shakespeare wrote "journeys end in lovers meeting" but so often the journey has only just begun. No wonder the poets have so much to say on the topic.

If you're not maxed out on love poetry from this past week, these are two of my personal favorites:

An excerpt from Pablo Neruda's Sonnet XVII (and yes, it was in Patch Adams, it's still great poetry)

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where,
I love you simply, without problems or pride:
I love you in this way because I don't know any other way of loving

but this, in which there is no I or you,
so intimate that your hand upon my chest is my hand,
so intimate that when I fall asleep it is your eyes that close.

And Leonard Cohen's "Dance Me to the End of Love"

Dance me to your beauty with a burning violin
Dance me through the panic 'til I'm gathered safely in
Lift me like an olive branch and be my homeward dove
And dance me to the end of love
Yeah, dance me to the end of love

Oh let me see your beauty when the witnesses are gone
Let me feel you moving like they do in Babylon
Show me slowly what I only know the limits of
And dance me to the end of love
Dance me to the end of love

Dance me to the wedding now, dance me on and on
Dance me very tenderly and dance me very long
We're both of us beneath our love... both of us above
And dance me to the end of love
Yeah, dance me to the end of love

Dance me to the children who are asking to be born
Dance me through the curtains that our kisses have outworn
Raise a tent of shelter now, though every thread is torn
And dance me to the end of love

Dance me to your beauty with a burning violin
Dance me through the panic till I'm gathered safely in
Touch me with your naked hand... touch me with your glove
Dance me to the end of love
Dance me to the end of love
Dance me to the end of love

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

everything I need

As I kid I loved kits and as an adult I still love them – make a minature teddy bear kits, needlework kits, those crazy little tea for two kits they sell at Chapters. There’s something incredibly appealing about a whole project in a box with all the bits you need gathered in one place.

I remember as a kid getting huge project and craft books from the library and hardly ever making anything out of them. There was always one unusual item that brought the project to a screeching halt. Whether it was strips of balsa wood for the how to make a kite book or glycerin for making soap, the books were like desert mirages. They seemed so close and shimmery but ultimately the projects were a world away.

No so with kits. Suddenly there is more than just instructions and a few oddments meted out. There is an immediacy of potential – you can get started anytime you want and you know you’ll be able to finish because it’s all right here, even the hard to get parts. You never have to worry about running out of supplies because it’s all been carefully portioned out.

There is bliss is starting out an adventure when you know you’ve got everything you need.

I sometimes wish there was a “How to be a Grown-Up” kit. I wonder what they’d put in it? Perfectly portioned responsibility probably, a nice big piece of experience, a multitude of little threads of memories. I can picture a hefty hank of love and a heavy block of time. There would be great comfort in knowing that you weren’t going to run out.

Life isn’t like that. And at the end of the day I’m glad it’s not so proscribed. After all the thing with kits is, you don’t get to choose. You’ll have a piece of fabric for sure, and it will be enough but it might be blue or it might be brown. All you get is what’s in the box. It takes more work to gather the pieces yourself, but there can be great joy in the search and in the choosing. And as long as I can discern need from want, I’m pretty sure that at the end of the day I’ll find I’ve ended up with everything I need.